By  on November 20, 2014

There’s something about Rimowa.For the opening celebration of the first U.S. store at 535 Madison Avenue, Rimowa drew A-listers such as Jared Leto, Alessandra Ambrosio, Melissa George, Jeremy Piven, Charlotte Ronson and Alex Lundqvist.Tom Nelson, executive vice president of Rimowa, said he expects the 1,600-square-foot flagship to do at least $1,200 in sales per square foot. The Madison Avenue unit has a 500-square-foot lower level with a repair center.Rimowa is also opening an 1,800-square-foot store in Miami in December and a 1,300-square-foot unit at Ala Moana Center in Honolulu in November 2013. “We’re looking at Ala Moana as an opportunistic strategy,” Nelson said. “The mall is adding Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom.”Nelson said that Rimowa’s four-year-old Toronto flagship produces sales of $1,800 a square foot. “I don’t believe in occupancy costs [for a store] being more than 12 percent of sales,” he said. “Each store has to stand on its own.”Rimowa’s scratch-resistant polycarbonate cases range in price from $500 to $3,000. Small leather goods start at $100. A new Onyx line, which will bow next year, features “the best of aluminum, polycarbonate and leather,” Nelson said. “The company’s roots are in the quality and hand-made engineered process. We manufacture in Ontario.”Artist and curator Neville Wakefield created a limited-edition luggage collection for Rimowa out of polished aluminum, then asked Brazilian artists to embellish the cases. The 22-piece sets costs $7,500, with proceeds going to three charities. Only 40 sets were created. Twenty sets are available in New York and 20 will be sold in the new Miami store, whose opening will coincide with Miami Art Basel.“It’s cool to be able to offer fashion colors and styles and the best-made pieces,” Nelson said, adding that the U.S. store count will top out at 25 units. Rimowa also has a healthy wholesale business with retailers such as Bloomingdale’s and Barneys New York. With a European flagship in Cologne, Germany, Rimowa has 115 branded stores worldwide, mostly company-owned, with partners in Hong Kong, Taipei and Milan.

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